General Crime

Paul Riojas Arrested for Alleged 1986 Attempted Murder of his Girlfriend in Watsonville

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A 48-year-old man wanted for a 1986 attempted murder and kidnapping out of Salinas was arrested Thursday in Watsonville after a police officer found he was living under assumed identities, police said today. Police arrested Paul Riojas at his residence in Watsonville at 9:54 p.m. Thursday after a search for arrest warrants found he was wanted in Monterey County for murder and other charges since Feb. 11, 1986, Watsonville police Sgt. Michael Ridgway said.

At about 6:17 p.m. Thursday, Watsonville police Master Officer Eddie Santana was dispatched to investigate a report of an attempted burglary, according to Ridgway. The victim provided him with the name of Raul Riojas as a possible suspect and told Santana that Riojas did not like to have his picture taken and was guarded about his name and birth date. Santana checked Watsonville police records about Riojas and discovered the suspect had used a number of aliases, such as Lorenzo Riojas, with a date of birth of March 3, 1960.

The officer contacted the Santa Cruz Regional 911 center in Santa Cruz and a warrant hit from 1986 was found for Paul Riojas, with a birth date of Oct. 12, 1966, wanted for attempted murder, kidnapping, false imprisonment, robbery and burglary allegedly committed in Salinas. Watsonville police obtained a copy of a Monterey County crime bulletin with Roijas’ photo on it, issued in 1986, and his true name, Paul Riojas. Riojas was still living at the same address, 142A Second St. in Watsonville, listed on the 1986 bulletin, police said.

Officers arrested him on the 28-year-old warrant at that address Thursday night without incident and Salinas police later took him into custody and booked him into the Monterey County Jail. In the 1980s, Riojas was able obtain a California driver’s license under the assumed name of Raul Riojas and the 1966 birth date because fewer supporting documents were required for identification back then, according to police.

Riojas was wanted in the kidnapping and attempted murder of his girlfriend and was contacted by authorities but for some reason he was released. He had been contacted by Watsonville many times over the years while using aliases and different dates of birth. The police contacts included citations, allegations of child abuse, child custody issues and his father’s death in 2003, police said.

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